Most of the pickup camping toppers we’ve looked at over the years have come straight from startups founded on the idea of creating a light, functional cross between a camper and a truck cap. But the all-new Dwell Shell hails from the fast-growing Utah outfit AntiShanty, which has become something of a multi-style overland RV specialist. The company previously released some unique trailers and a hard-walled rooftop tent and has now added a four-season hard-walled truck camping shell designed to brave conditions from overactive grizzly bear country to deep-winter snowscape.
AntiShanty’s Dwell Shell tagline – “Haul gear like a truck. Camp like a cabin.” – could apply to any camping topper, all of which are designed to offer camping accommodations while keeping the truck bed free and clear for hauling cargo. That’s something of a greater theme at AntiShanty, which also offers boxy toy-hauling camping trailers and a rooftop tent that doubles as a massive cargo box. All of its designs also feature floor-to-roof hard-wall layouts for more “cabin”-like overnighting.
For the Dwell Shell, AntiShanty has skipped the multi-panel origami walls we’ve seen on other hard-sided pop-tops, using triangular single-panel sidewalls and a rectangular rear wall. During travel, the three walls fold up and secure inside the roof. At camp, they drop down and swing into place to support the wedge roof.
This particular wall design offers the advantage of allowing the large gull-wing-style hatch doors on all three sides to open up, working like a breezy day cabana for al fresco living. AntiShanty has also included openable windows on the right and left side hatches for a little less exposed form of ventilation.
The insulated aluminum walls are designed for better weather protection than you’d find in a canvas pop-up. They also fall on the right side of the soft-sided camping bans sometimes issued in heavy bear territory, such as specific campgrounds within Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks. Such bans sometimes stipulate that pop-up campers are allowed only if the canvas is not exposed (e.g. sleeping in a pop-up camper van with the roof closed), rendering a canvas-walled pickup topper with roof bed less than ideal for overnight camping. With hard sides, the Dwell Shell is ready to go.
Inside the roof area, a large 86 x 53-in (218 x 135-cm) sleeping surface accommodates two adults and a child or dog. The sleeper platform features a carpeted foam top for insulation and comfort, and AntiShanty has added a premium mattress. The multi-piece platform design allows one camper to slip through a hatch down into the pickup bed and outside without bothering the camper next to them. AntiShanty also mentions the option of using a ladder through one of the side hatches.
Other standard features include roof rails for cargo carry and both interior and exterior hatch door handles/locks for easily closing and securing the camper, whether you’re inside or outside. The 380-lb (172-kg) base weight falls right in the heart of the hard-sided topper market, quite comparable to the Rossmönster Lagom.
With the advantage of having a pretty large pool of pickup topper competition with which to compare, AntiShanty has hit the ground running with a number of handy accessories. It offers an electrical package with power station and three tent/hatch door lights, interior/exterior-access MOLLE panels for organizing gear, coat hooks, interior hatch storage cabinets, a roof fan and a solar panel. Add a few of those accessories, and the Dwell Shell quickly transforms from basic camper shell to homey, little pickup-top abode.
The Dwell Shell starts at US$14,900 before options, and AntiShanty is currently offering a $3,000 discount for those who become the first to order one for their specific truck model/bed size. The video below gives a nice walkthrough of the design and options.
DWELL SHELL Walkthrough Video